1 NUMBERS, FACTS AND TRENDS SHAPING THE WORLD January 30, 2014 Attitudes about Aging: A Glo bal Perspective In a Rapidly Gray ying World, Japanese Are Worried, Americans Aren t FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ON THIS REPORT: Rakesh Kochhar, Associate Director, Research, Hispanic Trends Project Russ Oates, Communications Manager RECOMMENDED CITATION: Pew Research Center, January, 2014 Attitudes aboutt Aging: A Global Perspective
2 1 ATTITUDES ABOUT AGING: A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE Table of Contents Table of Contents 1 About the Report 3 About Pew Research Center 4 OVERVIEW 5 Global Trends in Aging 9 Aging in Major Regions of the World 10 Aging in the U.S. and Other Countries 10 Pension and Health Care Expenditures GLOBAL PUBLIC OPINION ON AGING 12 Aging as a Problem 12 Confidence in Retirement 14 Confidence Begets Confidence 16 Who Should Take Care of the Elderly? AGING IN THE U.S. AND OTHER COUNTRIES, 2010 TO Population Change: India and Nigeria Lead the Way 22 Immigration and Population Change 24 The Graying of Countries AGING IN MAJOR REGIONS OF THE WORLD, 2010 TO Populations of Major Global Regions: A Shift to Africa 33 Population Change by Region and Age Group 35 Median Age by Region 37 Dependency Ratios by Region POPULATION CHANGE IN THE U.S. AND THE WORLD FROM 1950 TO Population Change 40 Birth Rates, Death Rates, and Life Expectancy 42 Population Change by Age Group 44
3 2 Changes in the Age Structures of the U.S. and Global Populations 47 Dependency Ratios in the U.S. and Globally AGING AND SOCIAL INSURANCE SYSTEMS 51 Public Pension Expenditures 52 Public Health Expenditures 54 REFERENCES 56 Survey Methods 59 Topline Results 66
4 3 ATTITUDES ABOUT AGING: A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE About the Report This report examines global public opinion on the challenges posed by aging populations for countries and for respondents personally. The Pew Research Center surveys were conducted in 21 countries from March 3 to April 21, 2013, and totaled 22,425 respondents. People were asked for their opinions on whether aging posed a problem for their country, whether they anticipated having an adequate standard of living in their old age, and who among themselves, their families, or their governments should bear the greatest responsibility for the well-being of the elderly. The margin of error varies across countries. For more details, see survey methods and topline results. The report also analyzes trends in the aging of the global population, the U.S. population, and the populations in 22 other selected countries. The focus is on changes from 2010 to 2050, as projected by the United Nations (UN) in its latest World Population Prospects, the 2012 revision, released in June 2013 (http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/index.htm). The UN reports four variants for population growth: high, medium, low, and constant-fertility. All estimates in this report are from the UN s medium variant. The report is a collaborative effort based on the input and analysis of the following individuals: Rakesh Kochhar, Associate Director, Research, Hispanic Trends Project Paul Taylor, Executive Vice President, Special Projects Richard Wike, Director of Global Attitudes Research Bruce Stokes, Director of Global Economic Attitudes James Bell, Director of International Survey Research Katie Simmons, Senior Researcher Aaron Ponce, Research Associate Eileen Patten, Research Analyst Kat Devlin, Research Assistant Jacob Poushter, Research Associate Cathy Barker, Research Analyst Anna Brown, Research Assistant The report was copy edited by Marcia Kramer.
5 4 About Pew Research Center Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. It does not take policy positions. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. The center studies U.S. politics and policy views; media and journalism; internet and technology; religion and public life; Hispanic trends; global attitudes and U.S. social and demographic trends. All of the center s reports are available at. Pew Research Center is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts. Alan Murray, President Elizabeth Mueller Gross, Vice President Paul Taylor, Executive Vice President, Special Projects Michael Dimock, Vice President, Research Andrew Kohut, Founding Director Managing Directors James Bell, Director of International Survey Research Alan Cooperman, Director of Religion Research Claudia Deane, Director of Research Practices Carroll Doherty, Director of Political Research Scott Keeter, Director of Survey Research Vidya Krishnamurthy, Communications Director Mark Hugo Lopez, Director of Hispanic Research Amy Mitchell, Director of Journalism Research Kim Parker, Director of Social Trends Research Lee Rainie, Director, Pew Research Center s Internet & American Life Project Richard Wike, Director of Global Attitudes Research Pew Research Center 2014
6 5 ATTITUDES ABOUT AGING: A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE OVERVIEW At a time when the global population of people ages 65 and older is expected to triple to 1.5 billion by mid-century, public opinion on whether the growing number of older people is a problem varies dramatically around the world, according to a Pew Research Center survey. Is Aging a Problem in Your Country? % saying the growing number of older people is a major problem Japan S. Korea China Concern peaks in East Asia, where nearly ninein-ten Japanese, eight-in-ten South Koreans and seven-in-ten Chinese describe aging as a major problem for their country. Europeans also display a relatively high level of concern with aging, with more than half of the public in Germany and Spain saying that it is a major problem. Americans are among the least concerned, with only one-in-four expressing this opinion. Germany Spain Kenya France Israel Britain Russia Italy Argentina S. Africa These attitudes track the pattern of aging itself around the world. In Japan and South Korea, the majorities of the populations are projected to be older than 50 by China is one of most rapidly aging countries in the world. Germany and Spain, along with their European neighbors, are already among the countries with the oldest populations today, and their populations will only get older in the future. The U.S. population is also expected to get older, but at a slower rate than in most other countries. Pakistan Turkey Brazil Mexico Nigeria U.S. Indonesia Egypt Note: Question asked, How much of a problem, if at all, is the growing number of older people in (survey country). Responses of Minor problem, Not a problem and Don t know/refused are not shown. Source: 2013 Pew Research Center Global Attitudes Project survey. Q Public concern with the growing number of older people is lower outside of East Asia and Europe. In most of these countries, such as Indonesia and Egypt, the proportion of older people in the population is relatively moderate and is expected to remain so in the future.
7 6 Pakistan, Nigeria and other countries potentially stand to benefit from future demographic trends. These are countries that currently have large shares of children in their populations, and these children will age into the prime of their work lives in the future. The Pew Research survey also finds a wide divergence in people s confidence that they will have an adequate standard of living in their old age. Confidence in one s standard of living in old age appears to be related to the rate at which a country is aging and its economic vitality. Confidence is lowest in Japan, Italy and Russia, countries that are aging and where economic growth has been anemic in recent years. In these three countries, less than onethird of people are confident about their old-age standard of living. Meanwhile, there is considerable optimism about the old-age standard of living among the public in countries whose populations are projected to be relatively young in the future or that have done well economically in recent years, such as in Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and China. When asked who should bear the greatest responsibility for the economic well-being of the elderly their families, the government or the elderly themselves the government tops the list in 13 of the 21 countries that were surveyed. However, many who name the government are less confident in their own standard of living in old age compared with those who name themselves or their families. Proportion of People 65 and Older in a Country s Population, Estimates for 2010 and 2050 % Japan S. Korea Spain Italy Germany France Britain China Brazil Iran U.S. Turkey Russia Mexico Argentina Israel Indonesia World India Egypt S. Africa Pakistan Kenya Nigeria Source: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, World Population Prospects: 2012 Revision, June 2013, Rarely do people see retirement expenses as mainly a personal obligation. In only four countries South Korea, the U.S., Germany and
8 7 ATTITUDES ABOUT AGING: A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE Britain do more than one-third of the public say that the primary responsibility for the economic well-being of people in their old age rests with the elderly themselves. American public opinion on aging differs dramatically from the views of the nation s major economic and political partners. Americans are less likely than most of the global public to view the growing number of older people as a major problem. They are more confident than Europeans that they will have an adequate standard of living in their old age. And the U.S. is one of very few countries where a large plurality of the public believes individuals are primarily responsible for their own well-being in old age. This is not because the U.S. is perennially young. American baby boomers are aging, and one-infive U.S. residents are expected to be 65 and older by mid-century, greater than the share of seniors in the population of Florida today. 1 It is also projected that the share of people 65 and older in the U.S. will eclipse the share of children younger than 15 by But the U.S. is aging less rapidly than most of the other countries. In 2010, the global median age (29) was eight years lower than the U.S. median age (37). 2 By 2050, the difference in age is projected to narrow to only five years. Also, driven by immigration, the U.S. population is expected to increase by 89 million by mid-century even as the populations of Japan, China, South Korea, Germany, Russia, Italy and Spain are either at a standstill or decreasing. For these reasons, perhaps, the American public is more sanguine than most about aging. The aging of populations does raise concerns at many levels for governments around the world. There is concern over the possibility that a shrinking proportion of working-age people (ages 15 to 64) in the population may lead to an economic slowdown. The smaller working-age populations must also support growing numbers of older dependents, possibly creating financial stress for social insurance systems and dimming the economic outlook for the elderly. Graying populations will also fuel demands for changes in public investments, such as the reallocation of resources from the needs of children to the needs of seniors. At the more personal level, longer life spans may strain household finances, cause people to extend their working lives or rearrange family structures. 3 Perhaps not surprisingly, an aging China announced a relaxation of its one-child policy in November The term baby boomers refers to the large cohort born in the U.S. from 1946 to The oldest members of this cohort started to turn 65 in The median age divides the population into two equal parts, with 50% of the population older than the median age and 50% of the population younger than the median age. 3 See, for example, National Research Council (2012), OECD (2012), UNFPA and HelpAge International (2012), Clements et al. (2012), Gordon (2012), Bloom, Canning and Fink (2011), CIA (2001), Eberstadt (2011), Peterson (1999), and Beard et al. (2011).
9 8 This study reports on the findings from a Pew Research Center survey of publics in 21 countries. The surveys, conducted from March 3 to April 21, 2013, and totaling 22,425 respondents, 4 gauged public opinion on the challenges posed by aging for the country and for the respondents personally. The report also examines trends in the aging of the global population, the U.S. population, and the populations in 22 other selected countries. 5 The focus is on changes from 2010 to 2050, as projected by the United Nations (UN) in its latest World Population Prospects, the 2012 revision, released in June Countries Included in the Report 4 See the Survey Methods section for more details on the surveys. 5 The two countries included in the demographic analysis but for which survey data are not presented are India, because of concerns about the survey s administration in the field, and Iran, where no survey was conducted. 6 Data from the 2012 revision are available at The UN reports four variants for population growth: high, medium, low, and constant-fertility. All estimates in this report are from the UN s medium variant.
10 9 ATTITUDES ABOUT AGING: A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE Global Trends in Aging The global population is on the brink of a remarkable transformation. Thanks to the aging of today s middle-aged demographic bulge and ongoing improvements in life expectancy, the population of seniors is projected to surge, increasing from million in 2010 to 1.5 billion in The result will be a much older world, a future in which roughly one-in-six people is expected to be 65 and older by 2050, double the proportion today. The population of children, meanwhile, will be at a virtual standstill due to long-term declines in birth rates around the world. The number of children younger than 15 is expected to increase by only 10%, from 1.8 billion in 2010 to 2 billion in Consequently, the global share of the population that is 65 and older will double, from 8% in 2010 to 16% in And, more countries will find that they have more adults ages 65 and older than they have children younger than 15. The graying of the world s population in the aggregate conceals some important variations. Japan, China, South Korea and many countries in Europe are expected to have greater numbers of people dependent on shrinking workforces, a potentially significant demographic challenge for economic growth. However, aging elsewhere, such as India and several African countries, mostly means the aging of children into the workforce. That is a potentially favorable demographic trend for economic growth. Thus, the coming changes in world demography conceivably could alter the distribution of global economic power over the coming decades. For the United States, population trends may lead to greater opportunities in the global economy of the future. Although the U.S. population is anticipated to turn older and grow at a slower rate in the future, it is projected to increase at a faster pace and age less than the populations of most of the rest of the developed world. Thus, to the extent that demography is destiny, the U.S. may be in a position to experience a more robust economic future in comparison with other developed nations. 7 Percentage changes are computed before numbers are rounded.
11 10 Aging in Major Regions of the World In the future, aging and slower rates of growth are expected to characterize the populations of all major regions in the world. Ranked by median age, Europe is currently the oldest region in the world and should retain that distinction in However, Latin America and Asia are projected to age the most rapidly through It is expected that the median age in Latin America, currently 10 years lower than the median age in North America, will match North America s age level by Africa will continue to have the youngest population in the world. Africa is expected to be home to a greater share of the world s population in the future, 25% in 2050, up from 15% in The UN estimates that Africa s population should more than double from 2010 to 2050 with the addition of 1.4 billion people, greater than the increase of 1 billion expected in Asia & Oceania and the gain of just 0.3 billion expected for the Americas. In sharp contrast, Europe s population is expected to shrink by more than 30 million by the middle of the century. Aging in the U.S. and Other Countries Across the countries examined in this report, projections show that the U.S. population will grow at a faster rate than the populations of European and several East Asian and Latin American countries. Countries whose populations should grow at rates slower than in the U.S. include Brazil, Argentina, Britain, France, Spain, China, South Korea and South Africa. Some countries Russia, Germany, Italy and Japan are projected to experience reductions in their populations. Nations expected to experience relatively rapid population growth are located mostly in Africa. Most notably, Nigeria s population is projected to nearly triple and to overtake the U.S. population by Kenya is expected to more than double its population from 2010 to Pakistan, Egypt and Israel are expected to grow at much faster rates than the U.S. The populations of Mexico, India, Indonesia and Iran should increase at rates that are slightly higher than in the U.S. Regardless of their initial size or the rate of growth in their population, the countries covered by this study are all expected to turn grayer between now and The median age in the U.S. is projected to increase from 37 in 2010 to 41 in That will be less of an increase than in the rest of the world as the global median age is projected to increase from 29 in 2010 to 36 in The median age and the share of the population ages 65 and older also is projected to increase in other countries, sharply in China, South Korea, Mexico and Brazil, among others. Also, the total dependency ratio the size of the dependent population (those younger than 15 or older than 64) relative to the working age population (ages 15 to 64) is projected to rise in most countries. This
12 11 ATTITUDES ABOUT AGING: A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE means that future demographic conditions may not support the same rates of economic growth experienced in those countries in the past. A handful of countries, even as their populations age, are poised to experience a potential demographic boost to their economies. The total dependency ratios in Egypt, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa should decrease in the future, a consequence of their currently large youth populations aging into the workforce. This demographic transition is potentially a boon for economic growth. But, because these countries will also experience rising proportions of seniors in their populations, they will not be entirely immune to the social and economic challenges posed by an aging citizenry. Pension and Health Care Expenditures With aging, it is not surprising that public expenditures on pensions and health care are generally projected to increase as a share of gross domestic product (GDP). Increases in pension expenditures are principally driven by aging. In response, many countries have implemented reforms, such as a rise in the retirement age, designed to decelerate the rate of increase. Nonetheless, public pension expenditures are expected to consume about 15% of GDP by 2050 in several European countries. Pension expenditures in the U.S. are projected to increase by less, from 6.8% of GDP in 2010 to 8.5% in Larger concerns revolve around public health care expenditures, which are rising faster than pension expenditures in most countries. The reason is that health care expenditures are pushed up not just by aging but also by cost inflation. In the U.S., public health expenditures are projected to more than double, from 6.7% of GDP in 2010 to 14.9% in Similarly, large increases are expected in Japan and several countries in Europe, if current rates of cost inflation persist. 8 8 Projections of pension and health expenditures are subject to a great degree of uncertainty. That is because they depend not only on population projections but also on macroeconomic projections for GDP, assumptions about the labor force, policy parameters relating to eligibility ages and replacement rates, inflation in the cost of health care services, consumption of health care services and other factors.
13 12 1. GLOBAL PUBLIC OPINION ON AGING Public awareness of aging and its potential economic pitfalls varies across countries, but the view that aging is a major problem is more prevalent in countries whose populations are projected to be among the oldest in 2050, such as Japan, South Korea and Germany. People s confidence in their ability to maintain an adequate standard of living in old age is related to how much the country s population is expected to age and also to the country s economic potential. Publics in countries with relatively young populations or emerging economies Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, China and Brazil are among the most confident. The Japanese, meanwhile, are among the least confident, along with the Italians and Russians. When asked who bears the greatest responsibility for the economic well-being of the elderly, people are more likely to place the obligation on the family or the government than on the elderly themselves. South Koreans, Americans, Germans and the British are the only publics in which more than one-third say the elderly should bear the greatest responsibility for their own wellbeing. The government is the most common response in the majority of the countries that were surveyed. The Pew Research Center survey of publics in 21 countries asked people s opinions on whether aging posed a problem for their countries, whether they anticipated having an adequate standard of living in old age, and who among themselves, their families, or their governments should bear the greatest responsibility for the well-being of the elderly. Additional details are presented in the section on survey methods. 9 Aging as a Problem Of the 21 countries surveyed, at least half of the public in five countries says that aging is a major problem for their country. The populations in three of these countries Japan, Germany and Spain are already relatively old and continuing to age rapidly and, in the other two South Korea and China the populations are aging at a rate that will make them among the oldest by There is broad agreement on this question in Japan, where 87% of the public responded that aging is a major problem. The level of concern is also very high in South Korea (where 79% say aging is a major problem) and China (67%). This concern is expressed by 55% of Germans and 52% of the Spanish public as well. 9 Later sections in the report present populations trends and projections for the world, for major regions and 23 countries. The list of countries includes two, India and Iran, for which survey data are not available.
14 13 ATTITUDES ABOUT AGING: A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE In seven countries, 40% to 50% of the public says that the growing numbers of older people is a major problem. The populations in these countries are mostly middle-aged to elderly, including in France, Britain, Russia, Italy, Israel and Argentina. The presence of Kenya in this company, where 47% say that aging is a major problem, is perhaps contrary to expectation Kenya is among the countries with the youngest populations today and is projected to age little between now and The pessimism among Kenyans may be grounded more in current economic conditions than in future demographic realities. Is Aging a Problem in Your Country? % saying aging is a major problem Japan S. Korea China Germany Spain Kenya France Israel Britain Russia Americans, by and large, do not think that aging is a major problem for the U.S. only 26% think that is the case. Likewise, only about onein-four people in Nigeria, Indonesia and Egypt express the opinion that aging is a major problem. Italy Argentina S. Africa Pakistan Turkey Brazil Mexico Generally, public anxiety over aging is higher in countries that are projected to have among the older populations in In Japan, South Korea, Germany and Spain, where concern about aging is among the most heightened, about one-third or more of the population is expected to be 65 and older by In China, the share of seniors is expected to nearly triple, from 8.3% in 2010 to 23.9% in Nigeria U.S. Indonesia Egypt Note: Question asked, How much of a problem, if at all, is the growing number of older people in (survey country). Responses of Minor problem, Not a problem and Don t know/refused are not shown. Source: 2013 Pew Research Center Global Attitudes Project survey. Q128. At the other end of the scale, Egypt, Indonesia and Nigeria are projected to be among the countries with relatively young populations in In Nigeria, for example, only 3.8% of the population is expected to be 65 and older in The U.S. median age is increasing less rapidly than in most of the rest of the world and, by mid-century, its median age should look younger than that of several major European and Asian nations.
15 14 Older People Are More Concerned In several countries, older people are more likely to think of aging as a major problem. The generational divide is most evident in countries where moderate proportions of the overall population think of aging as a major problem. In Israel, for example, 43% of the public overall says aging is a major problem. But older adults (50 and older) are much gloomier: 54% of them say aging is a major problem, compared with 26% of adults ages 18 to 29. In the U.S., older adults are about twice as likely as young adults 34% vs. 18% to say that aging is a major problem. Confidence in Retirement Aging a Greater Concern for Older People % saying aging is a major problem, by age Oldest-youngest gap % % % Israel Britain Brazil U.S France Russia Note: Only statistically significant differences shown. Kenya excluded due to sample size. Source: 2013 Pew Research Center Global Attitudes Project survey. Q128. A vast gap is evident in the degree of confidence people in different countries have in their ability to maintain an adequate standard of living in their old age. About 70% or more of the publics in China, Brazil, Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya are either very confident or somewhat confident of an adequate standard of living in old age. In this group, at least 40% of Nigerians and South Africans are very confident about their futures. Meanwhile, only about one-in-five Italians and Russians are confident about an adequate standard of living in their old age. The proportion climbs to one-in-three or a bit higher in Argentina, Egypt, France, Turkey and Japan. Americans (63%) are among the more confident, with 24% saying they are very confident regarding the adequacy of their living standards in old age and 39% saying they are somewhat confident. The level of confidence expressed by the public correlates with how much the country s population is projected to age and with the health of the country s economy. Generally, the older a country s population is projected to be in mid-century, the less confident the public is about its standard of living in retirement. In Japan, where it is expected that 37% of the population will be 65 and older in 2050, 68% of people are not confident of the standard of living in their old age. At the other extreme, 6% of Kenyans are projected to be 65 and older in 2050, and only 28% of the people lack confidence in the standard of living they may have in their old age.
16 15 ATTITUDES ABOUT AGING: A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE Economic growth also appears to boost the confidence people have in their standard of living in old age. For example, real gross domestic product (GDP) in China increased at an annual average rate of 9.3% from 2008 to This track record and its future economic potential are quite likely one reason that people in China are relatively confident in their future standard of living even though the population there is aging very rapidly. At the other extreme, the Italian economy has floundered, contracting 1.4% annually in recent years. These economic struggles and ongoing aging no doubt are part of the explanation for the very low confidence among Italians about their old age. 10 It is worth noting that economic growth in recent years has slowed around the globe due to the Great Recession, which started in In the sample of countries included in this study, all but Indonesia and Argentina experienced slower annual growth from 2008 to 2012 compared with the growth they experienced from 2000 to Thus, the level of confidence people currently express about the standard of living in their old age may be lower than the long-term norm, and this confidence may rise in the future. Evidence for the U.S. shows that people had greater confidence about their retirement before the onset of the Great Recession. The Employee Benefit Research Institute has fielded its Retirement Confidence Survey since From inception through 2007, the survey Will You Have an Adequate Standard of Living in Old Age? % saying they are very or somewhat confident they will have an adequate standard of living in old age China Brazil Nigeria S. Africa Kenya Pakistan U.S. Indonesia Germany Britain S. Korea Israel Mexico Spain Argentina Egypt France Turkey Japan Italy Russia Very confident Somewhat confident NET Note: Question asked, Thinking about yourself, how confident are you that you will have an adequate standard of living in your old age Responses of Not too confident, Not at all confident and Don t know/refused are not shown. Source: 2013 Pew Research Center Global Attitudes Project survey. Q Estimates of GDP growth are from the International Monetary Fund.
17 16 typically found that about 70% of American workers were very or somewhat confident in having enough money for a comfortable retirement. However, since 2007, the share has dropped by about 20 percentage points. Pew Research Center surveys conducted in 2009 and 2012 found an 11 percentage point drop in the share of Americans saying they were very or somewhat confident that they will have enough income and assets to last through their retirement years. 11 If past is prelude, Americans are likely to become more confident of their future in retirement as the economy rebounds. A Generation Gap in Confidence in Retirement In several countries, younger adults, ages 18-29, and adults 50 and older express different levels of confidence about their standards of living in old age. In countries with older populations, notably Japan, Germany, Italy and Britain, the younger adults are much less confident. In Japan, 42% of people ages 50 and older are confident of their standard of living in old age, but only 22% of people ages 18 to 29 say they are confident of the same. The opposite holds true in countries with younger populations, such as in Nigeria, Indonesia and South Africa. In Nigeria, the high level of confidence overall is driven by young adults. Some 76% of Nigerians ages 18 to 29 are confident of their future, compared with 60% of those ages 50 and older. Age Gap in Retirement Confidence % confident in old-age standard of living, by age Oldest-youngest gap % % % Nigeria Indonesia S. Africa Britain Italy Germany Japan Note: Only statistically significant differences shown. Kenya excluded due to sample size. Source: 2013 Pew Research Center Global Attitudes Project survey. Q129. Confidence Begets Confidence A rosy outlook in general is related to confidence in one s future economic well-being. The Pew Research survey included questions on how people view the current economic situation for themselves and for the country, and whether they are positive about their children s futures. 12 Is confidence in these matters related to the confidence people have about the standard of living they may enjoy in their own old age? The answer, not surprisingly, is yes people who are more positive 11 Morin and Fry (2012). 12 Drawing from the same survey, a recent report from the Pew Research Center examined the state of economic confidence in 39 countries, including the 21 countries covered in this report (Pew Research Center, 2013, Economies of Emerging Markets Better Rated During Difficult Times ).
18 17 ATTITUDES ABOUT AGING: A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE about present-day economic circumstances or future economic circumstances for their children are also more confident about their own futures. Personal Economic Situation People who say their personal economic situation today is good are more likely to say that they are confident of their old-age standard of living. In Germany, for example, 70% of those who say their personal economic situation today is good are also confident of their future standard of living. However, only 25% of Germans who say their personal economic situation today is bad are confident of their future standard of living, a differential of 45 percentage points. A similar differential exists in the U.S. Some 77% of Americans who say their personal economic situation is good are confident in their economic future. In contrast, only 36% of Americans who say their personal economic situation is bad are confident of their future standard of living, a differential of 41 percentage points. 13 In most of the countries that were polled, the differential is 20 percentage points or higher. Confidence Linked to Personal Finances % confident in old age standard of living Personal economic situation is Good Bad Diff. % % Germany Britain U.S Japan Israel Argentina Indonesia France S. Korea Mexico S. Africa Spain Turkey China Brazil Russia Kenya Italy Nigeria Note: Only statistically significant differences shown. Source: 2013 Pew Research Center Global Attitudes Project survey. Q129 & Q6. 13 In the U.S., 67% of the public say their personal economic situation is good, and 31% say it is bad. In Germany, 77% of the public say their personal economic situation is good and 22% say it is bad. See Pew Research Center (2013).
19 18 The Country s Economic Situation There is also an association between positive views of the country s economic situation today and faith in one s own future. In Israel, 57% of those who say the country s economic situation is good are also confident of their standard of living in the retirement years. 14 But this level of confidence drops to 30% among Israelis who say the country s present economic situation is bad, a differential of 27 percentage points. A differential of 20 percentage points or more also exists in Mexico, South Africa, Germany, South Korea, Japan and Britain. In the U.S., only 33% of the public say the country s economic situation is good. 15 In this group of people, 75% say they are confident of their standard of living in their old age. Among Americans who say the country s economic situation is bad, only 58% are confident of their economic future, a differential of 17 percentage points. Confidence Linked to Country s Economy % confident in old age standard of living National economic situation is Good Bad Diff. % % Mexico Israel S. Africa Germany S. Korea Japan Britain Argentina Russia Kenya U.S China Turkey Pakistan Brazil Indonesia Note: Only statistically significant differences shown. France, Spain and Italy excluded due to sample size. Source: 2013 Pew Research Center Global Attitudes Project survey. Q129 & Q4. 14 Some 43% of Israelis say that the country s economic situation is good (Pew Research Center, 2013). 15 Pew Research Center (2013).
20 19 ATTITUDES ABOUT AGING: A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE The Future for Children People who are confident of what the future holds for the country s children are also more confident about their own future standard of living. In Israel, 41% of people overall are confident that they will have an adequate standard of living in their old age. But among Israelis who believe the country s children will be better off than their parents when they grow up, 58% are also confident of their own future. In contrast, only 25% of Israelis who believe the country s children will be worse off than their parents when they grow up are confident of their future well-being. 16 This 33 percentage point differential is the largest among the countries that were polled. Likewise, sizable differences exist in Argentina, South Africa and Indonesia (between 26 and 27 percentage points) in the confidence people express in their own economic future depending on whether they say the country s children will be better off than their parents. A differential of about 20 percentage points or higher exists in Spain, Britain, Kenya and Turkey. Confidence Linked to Optimism in Children s Future % confident in old age standard of living Children will be than parents Better Worse off off Diff. % % Israel Argentina S. Africa Indonesia Spain Kenya Britain Turkey Pakistan Nigeria Italy Brazil Mexico S. Korea U.S Russia Note: Only statistically significant differences shown. France excluded due to sample size. Source: 2013 Pew Research Center Global Attitudes Project survey. Q129 & Q8. 16 Some 41% of people in Israel respond that children will be better off than their parents, and 27% respond that children will be worse off (Pew Research Center, 2013).
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